Love the name, love the fit, love the waterproof. The Mountain Hardwear Rainshadow 26 OutDry is the perfect pack when the rain or snowfall is unpredictable and you need to stay nice and dry!
Ah, my favorite time of year has finally arrived: winter. Winter hiking is the best type of hiking. Why? Because it looks like a snowy, white wonderland and you feel like an epic snow bunny, dashing through the trails that once twisted your ankles on rocks and roots.
We headed up to Franconia Notch in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire and slept in the aptly named Blubaru (my blue Subaru) in the parking lot of the Lafayette Place Campground so that we could get a jump on our first winter hiking day of the year (can you feel the stoke?!).
We decided to tackle the Kinsman Mountains and cross two of the 48 High Peaks in NH off our list. The Kinsmans ended up being a relatively easy going, straightforward endeavor that wound around Lonesome Lake and one of the AMC Huts (highly recommend this trail).
My Take on the Mountain Hardwear Rainshadow 26 OutDry
I’ve only seen really cool dudes and ladies at the climbing gym wearing Mountain Hardwear jackets and packs, never had the opportunity to own or test one out. Mountain Hardwear also kept my boyfriend safe, warm and dry on an attempt on Mount Rainier earlier this year. So needless to say, I was a fan already.
This pack is fully waterproof. They even tested this piece of beautiful material in a rain room. What is a rain room? I’m not sure really but I imagine its a lot of fun and throws a lot of water at this pack.
I took a few opportunities to throw this pack in the snow, make sure it was covered and wait while I ate a snack. I picked it up, kept moving, and later on opened it up to find my extra layers completely dry.
This pack has incredible, easy access pockets on the back and top as well as a huge main compartment. The large, main compartment can hold your crampons, all of your extra layers for those crappier weather days, and all of your safety-wise equipment to venture out into the wintry tundras.
We frequently used the front pouch to acquire the map when questioning which ways to move onward. It was handy and available for moving fast on the trail!
One thing I really appreciated about this bag was how big the side pocket water bottle holders were. I have a 1.5 L water bottle and I find it always falls out of the side pockets on packs – but not with the Rainshadow 26 OutDry. Those side pockets are deep and ready to hold a ton of water for some of the longer days on the trail, or even an overnight.
Although this pack doesn’t have side padding for your hip straps, I didn’t even notice it. This pack formed well to my back and shoulders and is incredibly lightweight. I was expecting it to be heavier with such waterproof capabilities but I felt like a frolicking school girl the whole time!
On a scale rating the best vehicles to camp in, with 1 being a Smart Car and 5 being a BMW Sprinter Van, I would give this pack a 4, or a Toyota Tundra with a hard cab on it.
You’re comfortable, you’re dry, but you’re not paying an arm and a leg for it. Affordable, reliable and safe, the Mountain Hardwear Rainshadow 26 OutDry will not disappoint on a hard-pressed, snowy or rainy day in the mountains.
Keep following Explore Inspired’s #MountainTestedMondays series for more as I test this season’s best trail running packs and dig into the top outdoor gear for 2018!